Southern Universities Association Weekend 2013 (Southampton)

This year’s SUA was hosted by Southampton University in Southampton (obviously) on 8th-10th November. The UL being organised as usual had managed to get a last minute band of 7 current students together although we all decided to only come down for the Saturday. This decision could be attributed to laziness or competition focus, I will let you decide. Due to not being there on Friday evening I cannot comment on happenings, although I am reliably informed by my inside informant (Tom Wood) that ‘nothing much happened’.

Whilst all the dedicated SUA ringers rose and had the draw at 9am, we all arrived after a lovely, comfy night’s sleep at 10am on Saturday morning to a gloomy, rainy Southampton. Luckily we quickly found a Weatherspoon next to the first church and settled ourselves to a good spoon’s breakfast. The 8 bell striking competition was soon underway, although we were reliably informed we were 3rd so had time to finish our food. The 8 bell competition took place on the back 8 at St Michael’s (10, 16-1-15). We only managed to get 7 current students (Boo!) but Robert Sworder was temporarily promoted to honorary UL member and made up the final member of our team. We rang a touch of Bob Triples conducted by Ryan Noble and it was quite good (for Bob triples).

After that moment of excitement, we hurried over to St Mary’s (10, 21-2-8) to join the general ringing. This, unfortunately, turned out to be a bit of a trek and ended in us all becoming completely drenched and looking very attractive when we walked into the ringing chamber. After a few touches pretending I knew what I was doing in caters we all went for lunch (Yay!). 50 students descending on a pub at once wasn’t really thought out, so the UL formed a breakout group to a good CAMRA pub. We did get a bit swamped by Saints supporters but a round of 4 drinks was less than £10! Thankfully we managed to restrain ourselves in preparation for the 6 bell competition and didn’t drink too much.

We quickly dashed to Tesco’s for some food and those in the Southwark band went to ring in the 6 bell competition at St Barnabas (6, 2-3-2). This left just Ben and I who decided we would kill time by joining the general ringing at The Ascension, Bitterne Park (12, 8-1-13). This was another trek away and it started raining again. To make matters worse I LEFT MY UMBRELLA IN TESCO! Worst thing ever. So eventually we made it to Bitterne Park and managed to fire out a few touches there, then headed back to St Barnabas to ring for the 6 bell competition. After figuring out how best to stand whilst cramped ringing in a porch we rang a touch of Grandsire doubles called by Chris Rimmer. We then returned to the church hall next door to wait for the results.

The moment we had all been waiting for arrived. We all went over to the church with our pints to hear the results. In the 6 bell competition the UL came 3rd (not bad) and in the 8 bell competition the UL(scratch) came 1st,claiming the title of the best University ringing society in the south (probably the world). Tom Hinks even went so far as to say it was a nice touch of Bob triples! Other societies’ results don’t matter/I can’t remember them. We then headed over to the church hall for a celebration with cider and beer kegs and a ceilidh (of course). After this I headed home, so I can’t tell you what happened on Sunday, but I am reliably informed that ‘nothing much happened’. Thank you to SUGCR for a great weekend.

Sophie Middleton